Give Your Pantry a Planet-Friendly Makeover With These Sustainable Food Swaps

Last Update: April 1, 2024

A well-stocked pantry is the backbone of a busy, loved kitchen. This Earth Month, we’ve created a guide to help you build a more sustainable pantry — focusing on the relevant signifiers, ingredients, and product swaps to replace those pantry essentials that do more harm than good for our planet.

Think of this guide as a starting point toward planet-friendly practices in the kitchen. You do not need to completely tear your pantry apart from the ground up. Use up what you have, then switch to a sustainable option when you need to. The whole point is right there, in the word “sustainable” itself: significant change occurs through sustained effort. 

Baking Essentials

If you’re looking for… White flour

Try… King Arthur Organic All-Purpose Flour

Much of modern wheat production relies on synthetic fertilizers that can damage soil health. For a more sustainable swap, choose organic flour harvested with organic farming practices that restore soil health and better support the plants, animals, and humans that rely on it. 

If you’re looking for… Vanilla extract

Try… Thrive Market Organic Vanilla Extract

The global vanilla bean trade is notorious for using unethical labor practices, and many vanilla extracts are filled with synthetic fillers, such as glycerin or corn syrup. Our 100% pure, organic extract is sourced directly from farmers in Madagascar who are paid fairly.

If you’re looking for… Coconut milk

Try… Thrive Market Regeneratively Grown Organic Coconut Milk 

Much of the global coconut trade is rife with deforestation, habitat loss, and low income for farmers. Our coconut milk is made only from regeneratively grown coconuts from farms in Sri Lanka, and ethically sourced from farmers who are treated and paid fairly. 

If you’re looking for… Cocoa or cacao powder

Try… Thrive Market Regeneratively Grown Organic Cacao Powder

Similarly, the global cacao industry is known for being fueled by human rights violations, deforestation, and wildlife loss. If you’re looking for a more sustainable swap for your conventional cocoa or cacao powder, switch to our regeneratively grown cacao powder, which is made with hand-harvested cacao beans sourced directly from farmers in Colombia. 

If you’re looking for… Honey 

Try… Thrive Market Organic Raw Honey

Many honeys are filled with additives and produced by bees living in unnatural or potentially harmful conditions. For a more ethical alternative, try this organic, ethically sourced raw honey, which is 100% pure from hives in the wild in fields in Brazil. 

If you’re looking for… Brown sugar

Try… Thrive Market Regeneratively Grown Organic Coconut Sugar

While many people switch away from conventional sugars for health reasons, there are also environmental concerns, too. Sugarcane farming is incredibly water-intensive, and planting sugarcane contributes to loss of biodiversity. For a more ethical sweetener swap, try our regeneratively grown, organic coconut sugar, which comes from the sap of the coconut palm and makes an easy 1:1 swap for brown sugar.

Oils, Vinegars, and Ghees

If you’re looking for… Coconut oil 

Try… Thrive Market Regeneratively Grown Organic Coconut Oil

The coconuts for our regenerative coconut oil come from a single source — a co-op in Sri Lanka — and are grown using dynamic agroforestry practices, which promote sharing resources between crops and animals.

If you’re looking for… Olive oils

Try… Thrive Market Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Environmental issues like drought and high heat have made olive farming difficult in recent years, resulting in impure olive oils from problematic supply chains. It’s best to look for organic olive oils that come from a single source, such as our EVOO, which comes from a family farm in Greece that has practiced organic farming practices for over 100 years. 

If you’re looking for… Butter or margarine

Try… Thrive Market Grass Fed Organic Ghee 

The dairy industry in the U.S. produces high levels of greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change. Organic farming is a less damaging alternative to factory dairy farming, so choosing an alternative like this organic ghee (which comes from grass-fed cattle) makes a smarter pantry swap. 

If you’re looking for… Apple cider vinegar 

Try… Thrive Market Organic Apple Cider Vinegar

Made using bruised apples from a family-run apple orchard in northern California, this pure ACV helps to eliminate food waste while creating a perfectly flavorful, nutritious pantry staple. 

Nut Butters and Fruit Spreads

If you’re looking for… Jam or jelly

Try… Crofter’s Organic Strawberry Fruit Spread

This fruit spread contains organic fruits and Fair Trade cane sugar instead of artificial flavors and sweeteners. Crofter’s family-run farm also employs organic farming practices, which are better for you and the environment. 

If you’re looking for… Peanut butter

Try… Thrive Market Organic Peanut Butter

While peanuts are a low-water crop, climate change issues like drought, high heat, and extreme weather have all impacted crop yields in recent years. By switching to an organic peanut butter, you can support farming practices that have a lower impact on the planet (and enjoy a tasty nut butter made with fewer additives). 

If you’re looking for… Almond butter

Try… Thrive Market Organic Creamy Almond Butter

Similarly, almond farming is negatively impacted by the effects of climate change. Choosing an organic almond butter will help you add more conscious choices to your pantry.  

Grains and Pastas

If you’re looking for… Dried pasta 

Try… Thrive Market Organic Biodynamic Whole Wheat Penne 

Made from whole wheat grown in the Tavoliere delle Puglie region of Italy using regenerative agriculture practices, this flavorful, textured pasta is a more environmentally conscious choice from start to finish. 

If you’re looking for… Quinoa 

Try… Simpli Regenerative Organic Tri-Color Quinoa

Ethically sourced directly from farmers in Peru, this regeneratively grown quinoa is a sustainable swap for other grains, and with a more transparent supply chain. 

If you’re looking for… Oats

Try… Bob’s Red Mill Organic Rolled Oats

Oats are a water-dependent crop that’s often impacted by extreme weather, which means it’s all the more important to look for environmentally conscious farming practices that help minimize the effects of climate change. Certified organic, these naturally gluten-free rolled oats are a planet-friendly swap.

This article is related to:

Eco-Friendly, Environment, Food

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